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Shanghai Tower

Gensler

Shanghai Tower
By Li Xiangning -

Describing a high-rise building designed by a colleague, Louis Sullivan - dubbed the “father of the skyscraper” - is quoted as saying: “Here is a man for you to look at, a virile force, an entire male. It stands in physical fact, a monument to trade, to the organized commercial spirit, to the power and progress of the age, to the strength and resource of individuality and force of character. Therefore I have called it, in a world of barren pettiness, a male, for it sings the song of procreant power, as others have squealed of miscegenation”. (Kindergarten Chats, 1901) 

Already in the early 20th century, Shanghai’s Central Business District saw many skyscrapers spring up, medieval Gothic Cathedrals offering their sacrifice to the new God that is financial power. 

Located in the Lujiazui financial district, the Shanghai Tower is now complete. Designed by American architectural firm Gensler in partnership with the TongJi University’s Architectural Design and Research Institute, it redefines the role of tall buildings in contemporary cities such as Shanghai, raising the bar for the next generation of super high-rises.

The 1993 international design competition for three towers in the Lujiazui district saw participants like Toyo Ito, Dominique Perrault and Richard Rogers. Two of the towers were built, by other architects: the 420-metre Jin Mao Tower, and the 492-metre Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC). Now, the tallest of them all, the 632-metre Shanghai Tower is nearing completion. 

Despite its height, this spiralling, twisting tower does not overshadow its two neighbours. It is also a monumental achievement in terms of construction technique. The smart façades of the independent double-skin curtain walls provide state-of-the-art energy efficiency. The space between the inner curtain wall and the concave angular triangle plans rotates and twists...

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